People want to avoid risk of infection and they avoid crowds, cancel travel, distance socially and mask up on public transport. To be safer, they want others to do the same and expect governments to regulate it.
Following this path, free living and going happily where you want disappear. Living is transformed to a shambling half-existence, withdrawn from nature and without clean air. Such risk aversion weakens a person’s immune system with stress, anger, anxiety, depression and learned helplessness. These de-activate the immune response.
The increased risk of infection offsets the risk reduction sought by limiting transmission. Conversely, although social pursuits can cause transmission, they boost morale and promote robust good health, by fending off infections.
Reduced transmission possibilities and strengthening of immune response can both be pursued independently, but can act opposed or together to maintain physical, mental and spiritual good health, as for example by going to work or playing team sport.
Health should not be sacrificed to limit disease transmission.
In summary, infection risk can be reduced by limiting transmission possibilities and by building up immune responses. Public restrictions may be significantly counter-productive and should be withdrawn at the earliest opportunity of good population immunity.
My other writing about Covid-19 is at: https://martinknox.com
Covid testing measures the presence of pathogens, omitting the absence of immunity. It is more difficult to test immune resistance but it is, arguably as much a cause of infection as is transmission of the pathogen. Immunity and immune defences are insufficiently recognised in controlling the Covid pandemic.
Husserl’s revolution (1859-1938) in discovering phenomenology was to pull back the focus of objectivity, from the material out there in the environment, to the psychological perception of the observer. It was a new perspective of reality, called existential phenomenology and it is still popular today in understanding ‘being’. Virology seems to be stuck with focus on germs but could have its own Husserl who would give more emphasis to a person’s immune system.
Objectivity in traditional health’s description of infection is preoccupied with pathogens and pays little attention to immune defences. Pasteur’s germ theory focussed on pathogen transmission (objective). Bechamp (1816-1908), a contemporary of Pasteur, extolled the virtues of immunity (subjective) but for some reason his theory has been overlooked in a controversy from which germs emerged victorious. Bechamp argued that the underlying condition of our body determines the risk of disease, not just the germs itself. In his “terrain theory” he postulated that a weak body attracted disease, while a healthy body resisted it, Rumor has it that Louis Pasteur himself admitted on his death bed that there was more merit to the terrain theory, but modern medicine had set out on a new course by then.Essential nutrients, clean whole foods, reducing toxic exposures, supporting gut bacteria, etc go a long way towards creating a healthy terrain.
If immunity was considered more important, public restrictions would less severely constrain exercise, healthy eating, social gatherings, fresh air, relaxation, morale, jobs, school attendance and economic activities. These are more than places for pathogens to invade: they are places we use to strengthen our immune systems. I ask authorities to un-restrict them pronto. We may not be able to rely on vaccines to provide all our immunity!
These comments need validation before action.
My writing on Covid is at https://martinknox.com
Herd immunity is the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.
The prospects for a vaccine are, according to New Scientist, 21 March 2020, p45, ‘. . . the fastest we have ever cranked out a vaccine in response to an outbreak was with Ebola – and that took five years . . .‘
The other way is to allow 50-80% of the population to become infected quickly so that survivors will be in an immune herd. The strategy has ethical objections that it practices eugenics, aiming to improve the genetic quality of a human population. Some consider it is more ethical and politically viable to suppress the pandemic with economic and social restrictions that wreck the economy.
An article in aljazeera asks: Which countries have allowed the elderly and the sick to die in numbers, as an alternative to widespread economic damage caused by more stringent suppression measures?
Countries have responded differently, as is evident from this table.
|Deaths per million|
It remains to be seen if stringent suppression has merely delayed deaths until later, with more and longer lasting economic damage. A short sharp economic shock from epidemic virulence could possibly be less damaging overall, except for people who are without medical treatment. Countries that adopt a balance between medical and economic constraints may be best placed to countenance the uncertainties.
A possible philosophy is to keep hospital beds treating as many COVID-19 cases as possible.
Data: https://www.worldometers.info/ April 16th, 2020